From: Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, Vol.IV- p243


Francis Marion was born in 1732 at Winyah, a plantation in St. John's Parish, Berkeley County, S.C., near Georgetown. He gained his first military experience fighting Cherokee Indians in 1759 and 1761, during the French and Indian Wars. Elected to the South Carolina Provincial Congress in 1775, he was soon commissioned captain and helped defend Patriot positions in Charleston Harbor in 1776. Marion participated in the unsuccessful American campaign to take Georgia in 1779. When the British took Charleston in the following year and overran most of the State, Marion was commissioned a brigadier general and distinguished himself in organizing and leading a guerrilla band which soon won fame harassing British units and intimidating Tories. When the perplexed red coats sent their reliable troubleshooter Colonel Tarleton in pursuit of Marion, the crafty American won the sobriquet, "the Swamp Fox," by slipping through the Carolina marshlands. He subsequently joined General Green and assisted in the skillful series of tactical maneuvers which exhausted the British Army under Cornwallis, ultimately causing him to abandon the Carolinas and head toward his doom at Yorktown.

After peace returned, Marion served in the State senate until retiring from public life in 1790. He died 27 February 1790.

(WSC--145: dp. 220 ; 1. 125' ; b. 23'6'' ; dr. 9' ; s. 10 k. ; cpl. 38 ; a. 1 3'' ; cl. Active)

The second Coast Guard Marion (WSC-45) was launched 6 April 1927 by American Brown Boveri Electric Corp., Camden, N.J., and commissioned 23 April 1927.

After patrol out of New London, Coon., Marion was assigned oceanographic research north to Baffin Bay and Davis Strait, to seek information on currents and characteristics of the northern waters and to find the sources of the icebergs which found their way to the Grand Banks and the North Atlantic steamer lanes. After extensive alteration for cold weather operations, Marion left Boston Navy Yard 11 July 1928, Lt. Comdr. Edward H.Smith, USCG, in command of ship and expedition. This 8,100-mile cruise established that the majority of icebergs originated in western Greenland, and indicated that the number of icebergs which would reach the Grand Banks could be reasonably predicted.

Marion resumed east coast patrol duty until Executive Order 8929 of 1 November 1941 transferred the Coast Guard to the Navy ; she then took up wartime patrol and escort duties out of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. On 14 October 1943, off Mayaguez, P.R., she rendezvoused with cutter Dow, badly damaged by squalls throughout a passage from Baltimore. When it was necessary to abandon Dow, Marion made a lee and six-man life rafts ferried Dow's entire crew of 37 to safety without loss of life.

Marion was returned to the Treasury Department 1 January 1946 and operated as patrol and tender boat out of Norfolk, until decommissioning 15 February 1962. She was sold 8 March 1963 to Robert F. Solomon of Norfolk, Va., and renamed Top Cat.